This blog post was inspired by my walk in the rain last week with a very pretty girl named Willow. Willow happens to be an almost seven month old Golden Retriever and let me tell you... she’s all puppy!
It was one of those nasty, gloomy days that would even make the Energizer Bunny think twice about stepping outside. It pretty much rained non stop, making it impossible to stay dry or avoid muddy messes- if you’re a dog walker, that is. As a dog walker, I am acutely aware of the weather forecast and you can most likely find a pair of rain boots, at least one scarf, a raincoat, a couple of hats and probably several pair of gloves in my trunk at any time. Basically I’m always one step ahead of mother nature and ready for whatever she throws my way. Dealing with the elements is part of the job and I love my job.
One of the things I love about my job is being around animals. Duh, I know. But it goes deeper than just enjoying being around adorable, fluffy puppies and cuddly kitties. I love what I learn from these four legged teachers every single day and Willow’s joie de vivre while playing in the rain prompted me to want to share some of the lessons I've learned.
Enjoy The Simple Things We were nearing the end of our walk when she stopped suddenly, completely mesmerized by something in the rain water that was gushing past us. I was convinced she had found a frog or that some other critter had caught her attention (last week it was a garden snake!) My curiosity quickly turned to amusement when I realized that she was captivated by bubbles that were forming in the water and zooming by her. She kept trying to pounce on them and and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t “capture” them. It was easily one of the most adorable things I’ve seen (and I see a lot of adorable things in this line of work.)
Next, she was fascinated by how the rain water was draining into the gutter. She sat there for minutes staring and trying to “catch” the water before it disappeared down the gutter. As I sat there observing Willow’s interaction with the rain water, I couldn’t help but smile. It was so innocent. So simple. It was one of those moments that made me realize that humans don’t really take time to enjoy the simple things. This adorable puppy didn’t care that she was a soaking wet, muddy mess- her only concern was the sheer delight she was deriving from these unattainable bubbles. I think we can all learn from this, at least I know I did.
Live in the Moment This adorable little guy is Teddy. Teddy walks around with a perpetual smile on his face. He is always happy. The lesson I’ve learned from Teddy is to live in the moment. Cliche? Maybe. Important? Absolutely.
It’s very easy to get caught up in everyday stresses, the worries of tomorrow and the “what if’s” of yesterday. Feeling regretful about the past or concerned about the future won’t change either. All it will do is prevent you from enjoying whatever you are doing now or whoever you are with. This is a concept that eludes many people, yet one that can bring much peace.
The more time I spend with my four legged friends, the more I realize what masters they are of living in the moment. While dogs do remember things like where their favorite treats are kept or what street takes them home, they only access that information when they need it -- in that moment. Whether they’re chasing a ball or chewing on the perfect stick, dogs enjoy the moment they are in. Period.
So next time you’re worrying about why your boss hasn’t responded to your email, over analyzing something your partner said or stressing out about an event that hasn’t happened yet- I challenge you to take a moment to stop and notice the world around you.
My little friend Teddy notices and enjoys what is in his immediate space (admittedly sometimes it is one of my boots or fuzzy slippers) and inspires me to fully take in each moment too.
Have Fun Along the Way! At 15 years young, Harley definitely keeps things fun. This little lady has an adorable habit of “hiding” her treats and saving them for later. Not only is it one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, I’ve also never seen any other dog do anything like it. This girl loves her treats, yet resists the temptation to scarf them all up when I put them down for her. She might eat one or two, but she very cleverly “buries” the rest of them in the couch pillows or in her blanket for later. Watching her routine always brings a smile to my face.
I feel like too many people put off having fun (I have definitely been guilty of this.) Is it that we think we don’t have time for it or that it’s not important? Or maybe it’s something we continuously put off for “someday?” Once we get to that goal weight or once we get that promotion- then we will allow ourselves to cut loose. Why? Why not have fun now? Having fun is not a deviation from having a successful life; it is very much the road to it.
Watching Harley play this little game she has invented for herself takes me down memory lane. I find myself remembering games my sister and I played as kids. Whether it was endless tea parties with our favorite dolls (Mrs. Enna and Mrs. Nancy) or raiding out mother’s closet when she was out of town and playing dress up - we always knew how to have fun.
These days I try to remember to take a page out of Harley’s book. I may have a looming deadline or a huge marketing deck to prepare, but that won’t stop me from going outside to "hunt for ants" with my 2.5 year old neighbor Gideon for a little bit. We’re all busy, but we can (and should) remember to have a little fun and laugh along the way. I promise it will make the journey much more enjoyable!
Bottom line: we all have bad days. You will have days filled with unpredictable challenges. You won't always be perfect, but guess what? Nobody is. We all get into bad moods, have bad hair days and feel under the weather. Some days may be tougher than others. Some days it may just seem like the world is against us. It is during the rough times, that I challenge you to remember some of the lessons that I've learned from my four legged friends. So I'll leave you with this little “cheat sheet” of sorts that helps me keep things in perspective and I hope it helps you too!
About The Author
The daughter of an award-winning travel writer, Kimberly has followed in her mother’s footsteps and has had articles published in numerous publications. She got her first puppy from Santa Claus when she was four years old and has never known a life that didn’t include four-legged family members. An animal advocate, she has rescued pets, volunteered at shelters and has even been known to nurse an injured sparrow back to health. When she’s not busy running a successful pet care business and providing care to her four-legged customers, you can rest assured that she is pampering her 19-year-old kitty, Scout.